Welcome to the 2021 season where TAMU will work to make it to the College Football Playo… hang on, the phone’s ringing… mmmhmmmm… right.. really? OK.
Well, Alabama heard that Fisher is going to beat Saban’s ass this year, so they have forfeited the Oct 9th game out of fear of losing. Great to hear! National Championship, here we come!!
We got to see a lot of new faces on offense and some offensive defense play. However, as per the "pass log", we’re only going to focus on the offense. I did some of this for Mond last year (until work took my schedule over – yay, holiday weekend!). It was pretty much the same consistent story week in and week out with Mond. Overall solid, few mistakes, we knew the gameplan, and the OL would carry us to victory in terms of protection and RBs. A few awesome games (FL, SoCar) a couple mediocre games (Vandy,MSU).
This year, we have a Freshman QB, a new OL, a lot of familiar playmaker faces, and… well… the same playmaker faces in fact.
So, how does it all work out? As I said in some GBH article comments, we were spoiled by Mond. Yes, spoiled. Mond had very few INTs (probably should have had a few more), very few egregious mistakes, and all that would be coming to an end with a RS Freshman QB. If you have the stomach, go watch some of JFF’s 3-4 turnover games when he was a freshman. They happen. Get ready. They may cost us a game or two. They may not.
Log of passes below and some analysis below that. (As always, I’m not an expert, just going off what I can see from the telecasts with my own layman analysis.) Credit again to Woodlands Aggie for his excellent video work.
…and remember, this isn’t nearly as bad as Vandy last year…
|Pass #||Time of Game (Q/Clock)||Time on Video||Result||Pass Yds||YAC||Target||Read||Coverage||Pressure||# Rush||Comment|
|HB Swing, quick pass right. Good WR blocking on the edges. Good scheme to get King comfy. On Target.|
|2||1||12:39||1.39||COMP||-1||0||Wyd||1||Tight||None||4||After Hold, Another quick out right that failed. KSU ready and extra defender with good open field tackle. Bad playcall. On Target|
|WR short curl left, soft part of zone. 2nd read. Wide Open, On Target.|
|Heavy pressure on left edge, kept eyes downfield, stepped up in pocket, off balance throw to crossing WR middle, good find. On target.|
|Roll right, find Wydermyer right who was heavily covered. Wydermyer was punished all night. On Target.|
|6||1||9:34||2.59||TD||3||1||Smith||2||Light||None||4||Looked for Chapman initially, covered, so dumped off to Smith on the left edge. On Target.|
|Short Post middle, Dropped by Smith. On Target.|
|8||1||4:21||9.19||INC||15||N/A||Lane||1||Tight||None||4 (DT drop, LB Blitz)||Great blitz pickup by Spiller. Sailed the throw post middle. Had to try and drop in between the LB and Safety. Missed. First throw off-target.|
|Pocket started to collapse, hop throw off back foot. Sailed the throw into tight coverage left go-route. No Receivers had good separation.|
|#75 lost his DL, forcing King to scramble right. Looked top to Chapman first, scrambled with head down, then found Wyd. Low throw, but caught.|
|Hit after he threw, still flicked the ball 50 yards in the air deep post middle. Slightly underthrown as Chapman had to wait (just like the FL game last year). Safety ran through Chapman and should have been interference. Promising deep ball.|
|12||2||14:53||13.14||INC||25||N/A||Spill||2||Light||Heavy||5||Probably should have been holding on #85. Fade to Spiller left, just overthrown. Don't like this route to a RB, but he was open. I like the downfield passes|
||Some||4 (DT drop, LB Blitz)||THE SCRAMBLE. This is the fun scramble play of JFF-lore. King got happy feet on this play. After 3 heavy pressures, he actually ran into the pressure here.|
|No one picked up the LB. Was able to shoestring King.|
|13||2||13:18||14.06||COMP||12||2||Chap||2||None||4||Time to throw, looked Wydermyer first, then Chappy right side.|
|2||12:12||14.39||Achane x 2||Not passes, but 2 plays in a row where our OL doesn't get enough push for 3rd and short and 4th and short. Very worrisome. Our "go fast" play is always over left tackle.|
|14||2||10:24||16.29||COMP||-3||10||Smith||1||None||None||4||Quick Pass Right in the backfield.|
|Deep in route, left side. Can't tell from the replay, but looks to be good coverage. Announcer said he was led too much, but seemed OK? Wydermyer seemed off tonight.|
|Chapman also open. Smith Deep slant right bobbled ball. Slightly behind, but on target. King hitting facemasks.|
|17||2||5:30||19.17||INT||7||N/A||Wyd||1||Tight||Heavy||5||Play action roll right. LB tracked King and hit as throwing. 2 receivers in same place. Looks like Wydermyer broke deeper than expected and got in the way of Lane. Double tip to corner. Bad route planning. Bad decision. Better to throw away.|
|18||2||1:42||22.28||COMP||11||0||Chap||2||Light||None||5 stunt, delayed Corner Blitz||WR curl left. Low throw, but on target.|
|19||2||1:27||22.49||COMP||17||7||Smith||1||Light||None||4||Go fast - 28sec on the clock. I like this! Deep slant right. Defense not ready.|
|20||2||1:15||23.13||INT||8||N/A||Chap||1||Tight||None||4 (drop 2 DT, 2 LBs)||Looked receiver the whole way. Forced Curl Route right side. Double hitch. Bad throw, bad decision. Smith open behind him.|
|21||3||13:33||28.17||INC||15||N/A||Wyd||1||None||Tight||5||TE slant middle. Sailed the throw. Wydermyer was going to get hit hard. Off target.|
|22||3||13:28||28.28||COMP||17||0||Wyd||1||None||Tight||6||TE slant middle. Slightly behind him, but caught. Double Coverage again. On Target (enough).|
|23||3||12:18||29.20||COMP||-2||16||Smith||1||None||None||4||Quick WR out left, like a wide handoff. On Target.|
|24||3||11:51||29.35||INC||-2||N/A||Smith||1||None||None||4||Quick WR out right, pass low. Same play, different side. Room to run, but pass low.|
|Short Slant Right. Hit as caught.|
|3||11:07||29.59||COMP||5||5||Smith||2||None||Heavy||4||HOLDING. Pocket moved back, Scramble right, Head up, Found Smith in flat behind 2 rushing LB's.|
|26||3||5:10||37.30||COMP||5||0||Smith||1||Tight||None||6||Roll Left, Slot out right.|
|27||3||1:52||40.06||COMP||42||10||Chap||1||Light||None||5||Play Action, deep post. Nice long ball in stride. Throw it a little more to the sideline and it's a TD.|
|28||3||0:43||41.03||INT||10||N/A||Lane||1||Tight||None||5||Tipped at the line. Hesitated on the throw and watched single receiver.|
|29||4||14:07||42.52||COMP||-2||17||Spill||3||None||Heavy||4||OL broke down with only 4 rushing. Safety valve right backfield sideline outlet after scrambling.|
|30||4||13:39||43.19||COMP||14||0||Lane||3?||Light||None||5||Saving block by Spiller after Wydermyer missed block. King scanned the whole field before coming to Lane on the comeback right side.|
|Should have been holding on OC. Pocket Collapsing. Slant Middle, hip catch by Lane from right side.|
|32||4||12:29||43.56||INC||11||N/A||Wyd||1||Tight||None||5||TE out right, sailed the throw. Again, no one really open.|
|4||12:24||44.06||SACK||-4||Heavy||4||Sacked on a four man rush. Good containment. Eyes downfield, which is good. Hitched once, held ball. Could have thrown it away. Not a huge loss.|
|33||4||11:38||44.21||TD||10||5||Smith||2||Light||None||4||My favorite pass of the game. Slant route, initially would have been jumped, but King held it for a second longer, allowed Smith to extend the route, getting the TD. Thought he was looking Wydermyer first.|
1. I was actually pleasantly surprised by King. He looked poised for the most part, had a strong arm, threw a decent deep ball (sometimes), made decent reads at the line, and worked through progressions. That being said, he made three really bad mistakes and was punished each time. Congrats on Kent State for actually being able to capitalize on INT opportunities when a lot of SEC teams last year didn’t.
Fisher wasn’t shy letting King have a chance to win the game. 33 ATTs was more than Mond had on average last year. Coach could have just let the RB’s go win the game (and they helped a lot), but put some pressure on King to see how he would respond.
2. Fast Start. King’s first drive was a thing of beauty. 6/6, 49 yds, every pass on target, progressed through reads and made a really nice adjustment on pass #4. Then Smith had an egregious drop on the 2nd drive, and the confidence shifted. He had 3 straight INCs (7, 8, 9) where passes #8 and #9 were bad misses. Also, the 2nd Quarter happened.
2nd Quarter. Several things happened here. First, the OL stopped working. Heavy pressure on passes 10, 11, 12. That led to the very fun JFF-like scramble play. Then King was sacked on the next play. So 5 passes in a row where the DL was in King’s space. Not good. Also, in the 2nd Quarter, we were targeting deeper routes which have a lower success rate. I really think Jimbo wanted to use this part of the playbook and it was intentional. Unfortunately, King isn’t Bryce just yet.
3. OL play was inconsistent at best. The defense never rushed more than 5, but was able to get pressure on King multiple times. We knew the OL could be a problem area with the new lineup, and it was. The defense stunted a lot on its 4-man rush, would sometimes blitz a LB on its 5-man rush, and would sometimes drop a DE for a LB. Overall, they ran really only 3 different rush packages all game. We’re going to see a lot more variety next week and into SEC play. This is some concern.
KState defense success in "Heavy" pressure to King.
· 3-man rush :: 0 - 0
· 4-man rush :: 5 – 21 (1 sack)
· 5-man rush :: 6 – 12 (1 sack)
We also had a turnover on downs b/c we couldn’t get 1 yard of push in 2 plays (between passes #13-14). That’s inexcusable against Kent State.
Kudos to Spiller for picking up leaking DL’s at least twice. He is one of the best blocking backs in CFB.
4. The SCRAMBLE – OK, let’s talk about this. People are saying this is proof that King is JFF. Maybe it is, but maybe not in a good way. This scramble itself was a self-inflicted panic. The 3 previous plays (#10-12) all had pretty heavy pressure in the pocket. King had a fast clock in his head. The 4-man rush pushed up-field on the left side, but the pocket was still clean. King ducked his head and ran into the pressure. Fortunately he escaped and we got "the scramble".
JFF feasted off plays breaking down b/c he had 10 seconds to sit in the pocket with an NFL-quality OL which the play broke down and he could unleash his chaos. This OL isn’t that quality yet.
It was a fun play and showed off King’s speed for sure, but I’m not seeing it as a "victory". Yeah, I’m a party-pooper.
5. Targets. 5. That’s the variety of targets all game. Lane (5), Spiller (3), Chapman (6), Wydermyer (9), Smith (11). No Cupp. No Demas. No Moose. Not even Achane. I understand being comfortable with your set of starters, but am confused about the future. We can’t recruit players and then sit them.
Alabama had 10 different targets WITH CATCHES – I’m too lazy to tally any other of their targets. We need to work on this.
I’ll say it. Wydermyer looked off last night. He looked slow, he missed some blocks. Not sure what’s going on, but didn’t look invincible like normal. Maybe the defense took him out of the game, but he was rarely open and frankly looked disinterested. Would have liked to see what Cupp would have done. Although we also said that about Calzada (note that his pass isn’t included in the table above).
6. Downfield Passing. OK, we were wondering if this was going to change with King or if it was Jimbo that limited downfield passing. We definitely saw more downfield passing against Kent.
I only counted 7 "backfield" passes out of 33.
19 passes were 10 yards or more. We were 10/19 on those downfield passes, and should have had at least a Defense PI on Pass #11.
King’s arm strength was really encouraging on this #11– he was hit as he stepped up and still flicked the ball 50 yards effortlessly. It was slightly underthrown (shades of FL injury), and the Safety got there early.
I can’t say enough about the last TD pass. Had he played this as a timing route, it was a pick-6. However, he read the LB, held onto the ball a split second longer, led Smith open, and picked up the TD. That was a very encouraging play to leave the night.
7. The INTs. Blech. I don’t want to talk about them, but need to.
Pass #17 – This looks like a complete cock up between receivers, King trying to fit the ball in, and bad luck. Wydermyer leaked deeper into Lane’s area, who really wasn’t open either. Tip drill INT.
Pass #20 – King looked at Chapman the entire time. Even hitched before throwing it, and still threw it. Just a bad decision and tried to muscle it in.
Pass #28 – Ball tipped at the line. Again, keyed in on a single receiver. If a Kent State DL is tipping the ball, wait until the SEC lines.
…and no, I don't think Calzada wouldn’t have thrown that in a real-game situation. This was gambler-at-risk scrimmage time for him and he was going to force that ball.
We had 600+ yards of offense, although Kent State isn’t known for their defense. This wasn’t a disaster. (Remember when we had only 372 total yards against freaking Vandy last year??) We've seen worse opening days before.
Too many turnovers, but no fumbles. Only one really bad WR drop that did change the dynamic of the offense. Have to be better.
A lot of inconsistent OL play that will get better, but is a scary start. KState is a bad defense, but still got pressure with 4 and 5-man rushes and stopped us on a 4th down running play. We must get better here.
Overall, King looks like the real-deal. The question is whether he can grow up fast enough to contend for a playoff spot. The last TD may indicate he is a very fast learner and could be really good at the end of the season. Some QB’s don’t progress and stay where they are. Hopefully King is the former and will be a top SEC QB at the end of the season. He’s not there yet, but the potential is definitely there. I honestly think King, in his first start, is on-par to where Mond was last year. Maybe that’s too rosy…
At least our stadium is centered properly.